Dear Donna: Surprise 'I love you' complicates relationship

By: Donna Shugrue Special to The Gazette
December 23, 2013

Dear Donna,

A lady I have been dating for several months caught me off-guard by telling me she loved me. I responded with some dumb comment like, "Wow, that's a surprise!" Her feelings were hurt, and she was embarrassed. I assured her that I care for her, but I told her that I do not know her well enough to say I am in love with her. Things have changed between us since that happened. She is not as affectionate, and she thinks we should slow down. I do not want to end this relationship, but I am concerned by her reaction and what to do about it. I don't know if this is a bump in the road or a show-stopper.

Dear Concerned,

Tell her you feel things have changed since she said she loved you and ask if she agrees. If she is still hurt because you have not said you love her and she is acting differently in an effort to force you to say it, this is probably a show-stopper. If she needs to be reassured that you care and you are both going in the same direction as far as this relationship is concerned, it could be a bump in the road. Put yourself in her place and think about what you would want to hear if the situation was reversed.


Shugrue owns Perfectly Matched. Her column runs biweekly in Family. Email questions to or visit

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